Everything But The Goal
|There's a lot of weight on his shoulders...|
Brendan opted to field his youngsters once again with Sterling, Suso and Wisdom all starting. Suarez was the main man up front. Stoke had two ex Liverpool players in their starting line up; Crouch and Adam whilst Owen didn't even make the bench after picking up a knock in training. (Shocker).
The first half left Stoke chasing the ball a lot of the time. Liverpool were confident in retaining possession and the likes of Suso and Sterling were creating space making the Liverpool attacks more threatening. The Stoke defence for the time being was easily undone.
Despite this, Liverpool didn't get many clear cut chances in the first half but were by far the more effective side. A save from Begovic near the half hour mark denied captain Steven Gerrard from putting his side ahead and Suso was also denied after a block from Robert Huth.
By half time the home side could feel happy with their performance, all that was missing was a goal but it certainly appeared as though eventually the lads would find one. Stoke were very quiet upfront in the first half and I almost forgot Peter Crouch was on the pitch at one stage.
Into the second half and Liverpool were playing at the same tempo of the first, there was no letting up for Stoke. Glen Johnson found himself with a good chance about five minutes in but his precision let him down.
Luis Suarez throughout the game for Liverpool was once again on full cylinders. The Uruguayan is never one to give up but he was left with an awful lot to do on Sunday. Of course it's his job to score goals and he hasn't been doing bad at all this season but he isn't going to find the back of the net in every game. He had several mazy runs, weaving his way past four or five players at times but his efforts went wide or were blocked.
Joe Cole came on for the Reds replacing Suso not long after the hour mark and whilst he did ok and got a shot on almost immediately it did feel as though Liverpool had lost some of their flair and vision minus Suso.
On the plus side, I don't know if anyone else agrees but for me Gerrard seems to sit into this starting line up perfectly, he looks a lot more comfortable and is free to break into a more attacking role whenever needs be. Joe Allen compliments the midfield wonderfully.
As the minutes ticked down it was becoming clear that Liverpool would have to settle for just the one point here. A late, late effort from Martin Skrtel was sent across goal without anyone meeting it and time was up for the Reds.
Liverpool haven't notched up a win at home yet this season and in fairness Anfield doesn't seem to be scaring anyone anymore. Anybody who is sitting there wondering why we have a goal scoring problem though after our transfer window must be a bit daft. It was clear we would have problems in these sort of games, you can retain possession and pass the ball all you like, it's relatively pointless if you don't have somebody to smash it into the back of the net week in, week out.
Suarez of course offers goals and it looks as though Sahin could grab a few too. Borini for me is more like an Italian Emile Heskey, he'll support his fellow forward 100% but as for his own return of goals, well...
Gerrard again will find the net and Johnson, Skrtel etc etc and I'm sure the youngsters will soon enough too but we don't have a natural goalscorer, for me, that's first thing on the shopping list in January.
Despite all of this you have to find comfort in the way that we played and just hope that some other players begin to step up and score goals to aid Liverpool's season.